Indiscipline Overshadows Sounders Good News

Posted in Columnists, Seattle

Published on June 27, 2012 with 41 Comments

Sounders FC pulled out the best result of their season last night when they visited the hottest team in MLS, the San Jose Earthquakes and came away with a win.

Cordell Cato became the youngest Sounder to score
Photo: John Hefti

Not only did they knock the deserved leaders of the Western Conference out the cup, but they did so with a patchwork quilt of squad players, and more importantly with a backline that looked organised, competent and resolute.

Their fans should be harbouring an unadulterated glee today with nothing to sour their joy.

The headlines should be Cordell Cato becoming the youngest Sounder ever to score.

Those headlines should be of deeds performed by feet not by fists.

Sadly not.

The headlines on MLSSoccer.com are not of Cordell Cato’s goal or Zach Scott’s captaincy holding a superb backline together better than at any time this season.

They are not even of Sigi Schmid eking the best performance out of his players while under immense pressure, and calling his tactics right.

This morning, it’s Eddie Johnson’s inability to maintain his professionalism that is the accusation and the talk around the watercooler.

Nobody who was not there can say for certain what happened. The video is grainy so we have to turn to, pardon the pun, eye witnesses.

San Jose substitute Jed Zayner was right in the middle of it, and the inferences from his explanation on the MLS article are ominous for Johnson:

“Eddie Johnson was just taunting us in front of our bench, and celebrating and saying obscenities to our fans,” said Zayner, whose right eye was noticeably more closed than his left as he spoke to reporters.

“I just walked up to him and said, ‘Eddie, you want to celebrate, go celebrate in front of your own bench.’ And he hit me in my face. That’s really it.”

If all he did was walk up to Johnson. That part is under dispute. Zayner is also alleged to have done some shoving to move Johnson away from the bench and the video is clear enough to show that to be the case.

That Johnson decided to do his celebrating in front of the Quakes bench is not under dispute though and this is disturbing because he has already been fined for his undignified behaviour after a previous Seattle win.

During the match in Chicago on April 28, Johnson made an ‘inappropriate gesture’ to Chicago Fire fans. He was fined by MLS and subsequently admitted the offence and apologised.

Having previous form for the same offence does not of course automatically equal guilt, but it does remove the ‘he’s not that sort of player’ defence. Johnson clearly is the kind of player that revels in goading defeated opponents. Doing it away from home is the kind of conduct that starts more serious disorder.

You can throw in two more pieces of evidence to his existing fine.

According to Geoff Lepper on MLS, Zayner’s right eye was noticeably more closed than his left as he spoke to reporters. Short of claiming he punched himself to frame Johnson, that is pretty damning. Again the video does not conclusively connect the two.

Then there is Portland. By some accounts of the various skirmishes that almost disgraced both clubs, if there was to have been a third red card after Lovel Palmer and Fredy Montero, Johnson was the prime candidate.

Most already expect his name to figure when the MLS Disciplinary Committee trawls through the video wreckage.

There were other flashpoints during last night’s match in San Francisco that suggest a deeper issue than one man. The sight of both assistant referees on the pitch to break up brawling for the second Sounders’ game running will not enhance the club’s reputation.

There is a downside, as the mantle of being easily provoked will be well known to future opponents. Forget that cleaning up the disciplinary aspect and asking your players to set an example is the right thing to do. It is also the beneficial thing to do for this club.

Scott and Ianni looked as competent a centre half pairing as Sounders fans have seen all year
Photo: John Hefti

Fans do not buy season tickets expecting to turn up and see the star players, whose wages they pay, suspended. They also do not want their children to see them brawling, flouting authority and mouthing obscenities at fans.

Given the incessant hooligan narrative that the suits (and we don’t just mean Sounders executives here) fired at fans throughout 2011, it is our view that two things are called for. Some very tough action against Eddie Johnson if Zayner’s accusations are true. And perhaps an apology to fans for insinuating the hooligans were their customers rather than their employees.

MLS cannot act on last night as it was an Open Cup game. Besides they have their hands full from Sunday.

The USSF may act but receiving fine after fine does not clean up Sounders FC. That starts at home. And that starts by recognising that the widespread indiscipline displayed recently is not always someone else’s fault.

Red cards attained as a part of mistimed tackles such as Jhon Hurtado’s in Montreal are part of the game.

Using game play as a cover for an act of irresponsible aggression such as Alvaro Fernandez’s tackle against Sporting Kansas is a greyer area, but the Uruguayan can at least claim he was trying to influence the outcome of the game in his side’s favour.

Pat Ianni can justifiably claim that he was ‘standing his ground’ when he shoved away a Portland player at a set piece. Not the brightest moment perhaps for an otherwise superbly disciplined player, but it was during the game and it was an attempt to hamper the opposition’s efforts to win an advantage.

Montero’s shove and Johnson’s celebration though are in a whole different realm. There was no advantage to the team. Both were moments of self indulgence that placed themselves before their team mates, their club and their fans.

Johnson’s punch/slap, and again it has to be restated he has not been found guilty of that, would enter a different realm.

Having watched the video, not everything is as crystal clear as Zayner’s quote makes out.

Johnson definitely went to celebrate in front of the San Jose bench rather than with his own side. In isolation, that is just unwise and a little classless. Given his previous fine, it is utterly idiotic.

It is also clear that Jed Zayner shoved him first a fact missing from his recollection of events for which he has to account, while displaying his injured eye to the press.

What is less clear is whether Johnson punched him, slapped him or was merely trying to keep Zayner away. Slap looks the likeliest option but the video is not clear enough. Given that Alan Gordon was sent off for retaliating to Marc Burch’s initial shove, the retaliator being held responsible would at least be consistent with the way justice was meted out in that match.

Zayner’s actions in shoving Johnson away are understandable. He could argue that he was trying to avoid Johnson deepening the confrontation by getting any nearer the Quakes bench and even more dangerously the fans. With Johnson’s reputation, it was a valid fear. Zayner can build a case for his actions but omitting an integral part of the story when telling it has not helped him.

That omission should not be used in Seattle to deflect, deny or dodge any part of the Johnson issue, and not just the Johnson issue from last night.

He arrived with a reputation of being a less than harmonious influence in a locker room. The side has looked remarkably uncohesive for much of the season.

Fans are asking if Johnson is at the root of something deeper?

Eddie and Friends? Johnson celebrates his goal in Portland

In Portland on Sunday, he scored a fantastic goal.

A look at the replay of the goal suggests something may be amiss.

Johnson runs away from his team mates immediately to begin the celebration.

Normally does a goalscorer not turn towards them to await their arrival at his chosen scene of celebration?

Normally does a scorer not turn to them to assess the timing of their jumping on him to brace his body?

Johnson did not seem to be expecting any company and indeed he was not to be surprised. Andy Rose is the sole Sounder who appears to be moving to run with him.

He later gets a pat on the back from Marc Burch. This is for a goal in the highest profile most emotional match of the season.

The goal came too early for the priority to be returning to the centre circle for the restart.

Most notably there seemed to be no support from his colleagues in the club’s offense, from Mauro Rosales and Fredy Montero, the closest players to him.

Would it be fair to wonder if there is a divide between him and the Hispanic players given that they comprise the better part of his forward colleagues?

It’s all speculation of course and the signs of team disharmony could have nothing to do with Eddie Johnson. There is also no conclusive proof of that clenched fist in San Francisco.

But even the most sympathetic fan of the new player, which may well be Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer, cannot expect fans not to start joining some dots and seeing a bigger picture.

Because it’s thank to Johnson that the picture in their minds is not of a packed CenturyLink Field under the lights watching Sounders play ChivasUSA for the right to see another Open Cup Final in Seattle. It’s of a grainy video from a civic stadium in California.

Sigi Schmid will have a teleconference at 4pm today with the Seattle media.

 





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41 Comments

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  1. Several thoughts:

    1) Not that this is any kind of excuse but what of the SJ player that apparently head-butted Burch in the back of the head? How is that not news in these stories around the web as well? I think the SJE did a poor job of composing themselves as well.

    2) With regards to EJ, I propose we get rid of him and Flaco to free up the funds for a healthy, talented forward. No more messing around, we don’t need another Ljundberg in Seattle. Hell we can start Cato and sub in Zakuani.

    3) Last note, where is the story about the lack of coverage by the Sounders for last nigth’s match? I was infuriated that the Sounders sent us to the San Jose page to watch their stream of the match that didn’t even work. For a multi-million dollar organization with the largest fan base in America, that is simply unnaceptable and deserves and explanation.

    • “1) Not that this is any kind of excuse but what of the SJ player that apparently head-butted Burch in the back of the head? How is that not news in these stories around the web as well? I think the SJE did a poor job of composing themselves as well.”

      Alan Gordon was rightly sent off for that so justice was done and that was mentioned in the article.

      2) It’s a case many are making and we have said this about Fernandez fairly recently.

      3) Hard to disagree but was not the subject of the article.

    • Clayton. It was San Jose’s responsibility to broadcast the match. Seattle had no control over that and simply no time to go to San Jose to get their equipment set up.

      Seattle DID have a radio broadcast though.

      What you should be asking is “Why does the USSF allow teams to have streams that don’t work?” And, “Why isn’t the USSF responsible for broadcasts instead of the home team?”

      San Jose should be rather embarrassed at their lack of coverage.

      • I get that, but San Jose’s responsibility or the USSF’s responsibility or not, I would like to think that the Sounders organization would want to go one step further to ensure that their fanbase gets to see the match. Of course San Jose should be embarresed and the USSF should be ashamed, but for the team who holds the past three trophies of this tournament to not have their own stream of this event is inexcusable for me. The idea tha they didn’t have time to set it up doesn’t fly for me either. It’s a short hop down to CA and the team obviously made the trip as well as a nice group of supporters.

        • So what you’re saying is that the Sounders, upon hearing that the HOME team was going to do a live stream, should have assumed that it would be fantastically crappy and set up one of their own? You’re not serious are you?

          • “So what you’re saying is that the Sounders, upon hearing that the HOME team was going to do a live stream, should have assumed that it would be fantastically crappy and set up one of their own? You’re not serious are you?”

            This is why they should ALWAYS be allowed a home draw ;-)

          • The USSF leaves the broadcasting up specifically to the clubs. They are very hands-off of the tournament compared to other federations, and usually leave any and all broadcasting up to the teams involved. This means that the teams have to set everything up (and the home teams do have to provide the away teams’ access as well). This is why the earlier rounds of the Cup often present coverage problems to those who are trying to coordinate between multiple games.

            The fact that Seattle had a one-day gap between games really doesn’t make setting up their separate feed very feasible, not to mention this was a different stadium in San Francisco rather than SJ’s home field. Had the game been a day earlier, they could have managed, but having to move that much equipment around in such a short time is next to impossible, especially if you want to put a quality production on.

  2. Ok, I know you like rabble-rouse, but implying EJ’s goal celebration was anything out of the norm is bordering on the same level of craziness as Sigi’s speculations that the Open Cup draws are fixed. ;-)

    I have an almost identical shot of EJ running away from the goal, towards the middle of the field, with his arms raised. In fact, as he was running away from me in PDX, I knew I’d already gotten this shot. (I thought you posted it, but couldn’t find it.)

    http://www.mikerussellfoto.com/blog/1378, the 20th photo in the series.

    Now, if you wanted to imply from the celebration that he thought himself some sort of Messiah, well, I’d have no problem with that. :-)

  3. I hope you’re not on to something. I want Johnson to succeed. BUT you have a good case.
    The one piece I feel I can comment on: after his goal in PDX, Johnson ran over to the Sounders fans, way over on the other side of the pitch. It seemed perfectly normal to me. The fact that hardly any one else joined him, well…

    • I agree. It’s the same thing when players score great goals and run over to slide by the corner flag. They’re celebrating. Plus that goal was a great individual effort.

  4. Enjoyed this tweet:

    ‏@chamberiECS
    EJ shot Archduke Ferdinand and JR?

    • LOL. He’s good a good sense of humour, him.

  5. I hope you’re not on to something as well. If an altercation is going to break out and move an individual to physical violence, what type of person would slap another instead of balling up those knuckles and punching the guy!?

  6. As MLS officials comb through Sunday’s game footage, they will hopefully see what was clear to me and that was before the Montero shove, there was an EJ elbow to Horst’s chin/neck. That precipitated the Horst and EJ shoving, which appears to be why Montero shoved Horst. It’ll be interesting to see how Sigi deals with this issue because it IS an issue. I am a Timbers fan who thinks that Palmer fully deserved a red card for his actions, as did Mosquera deserve his suspension for punching McBean in the Galaxy game.

    • I didn’t see EJ’s part in that though plenty of fans on both sides told me about it afterwards. I think EJ and possibly Horst might have good cause to watch their caller ID this week.

  7. Dear Editor,
    Until there is better referring there is absolutely nothing here to talk about. The fact that you write way to much about this means that you have something against this man and player. Shame on you because your writing here borders on Racism and you can say the same about Montero in his own recent history. So you are either with the Sounders or your not but this article is one of your worst efforts and you write and complain and come off like a big fat whiner. If you can do something about it then shut up and do it otherwise you are just another talking head. And all you great talking heads sure do know what you know, don’t you. You are so damn much smarter than anybody else so listen to me I’m saying something here that needs to be acted on. Can you do anything about this issue? No you can’t, then writing and complaining makes you the big shot and leaves you above everyone else. Shame on you. Shame on you. This is borderline Racism right here at home. Good going. Sure makes you look good, don’t it.

    • No. Sorry. Nope. You’re way out of the ballpark here. Racism? You’re kidding me?
      The only suggestion of race was at the end where it was proposed that there may be a rift between Eddie and the South American players. And although the question isn’t if Eddie is having a problem with SA players, but other attacking players (as it would have been better worded), there is no racism here.
      Your two comments (see equally ignorant one below) are implying that the author is calling EJ some crazy, mad, black man. Do you get how dumb that sounds?
      The problem isn’t race at all, it’s the fact that EJ for two straight matches now has let his temper get the best of him and is putting a pretty negative association on our organization.
      Come on.

  8. Dear Editor,

    The more I think about this the more this needs to be said about this article. This article is racism. You have major problem in your mind and brain. How dare you write this article. This article is a racist rant from a racist. You need to seriously think about not writing from here on out. The power of the mix of the people will shut you down and shut you up.

    • Where did I put that troll repellant? Hoo, you are insane in the membrane. Please leave the wonderful Mr. Editor be. Without him, you wouldn’t have had the urge to exercise your right to free speech as he has. Of course, if he’s a Canadian, the U.S. Constitution won’t help him much.

      I’ve found the team’s actions a bit disturbing of late as well. When we exhort them to “Come on Seattle” “Fight and win!” We didn’t think they’d take us so literally!

      • Dissent is always needed when confronted by speculation and here-say.

  9. For those who have not seen it yet, here is the link to the second half: http://www.ustream.tv/embed/recorded/23593591

    The Gordon-Burch mess is at about the 51 minute mark (bottom of the screen), and the Johnson-Zayner fracas starts around 53:45 (bottom left-hand corner). Even viewing this objectively, it’s fairly obvious Zayner is not the saint he tries to make himself to be in the interview, and as a former hockey player, calling what Johnson did a punch is out and out laughable.

    The fact is, you can’t expect class when the game turns into a melee as early as it did. The ref obviously didn’t have any idea what he was getting into, and just really seemed not to care. Even Wondolowski mentioned that fact, and I think most of the fans on both sides watching this knew it was going to be a battle royale, and the ref didn’t get the point that this was going to be chippy from the early moments. You have to referee the game, so even if your tendencies are to let a bit of physical play slide, he should have been on top of both teams before the first half ended if he wanted to keep everything from getting out of hand. Clearly he didn’t, and it did. So while there was obviously a lot going on, I think that, especially now that we can actually see what’s going on, IF Johnson would get anything, Zayner is going to get the same amount. While the whole incident is not pretty, it’s no different than anything that went on during the game from both sides.

  10. After the trade was announced, there was nothing but negative comments about EJ. Even after scoring goals and actually putting in the hard extra to first get match fit, then recover from injury has anyone hardly had anything nice to say about the guy. It’s hard to play nice under unrelenting pressure and if anybody on this team had a reason to snap, it’s EJ.
    Secondly, the referees have allowed our players to take a beating. It seems that most teams have learned the best way to beat Seattle is to get physical. Perhaps the Sounders have decided they simply aren’t going to take it anymore…especially against a team that beat them in a previously “chippy” match on a questionable penalty
    Personally, I’m glad the Sounders are fighting back. Maybe next time, a opposing team will think twice before playing thug ball.
    My father always told me never to start a fight, but if it came to it, to make sure I finished it.

    • “After the trade was announced, there was nothing but negative comments about EJ.”

      Simply not true. We ran two supportive pieces.

      Fans Forum: Rod Nicholls Defends the Johnson Trade – Guest piece

      Special Comment – Hanauer and Schmid put it all on the line (including themselves) – Editorial

      • I didn’t mean just here. I meant in Soundersland in general.

        And frankly, I don’t believe the Johnson is the reason for the Sounders poor form of late. If anything, he’s helped to keep us in games.
        We are nor privy to what get said on the field. I do know know that San Jose and Lenheart in particular, have a habit of playing head games to disrupt their opponents plans. Usually, the ref is supposed to keep things from getting out of hand.
        Johnson son wasn’t the only one who got into a scrap. He’s not even the only one who got into altercations this season. So to single him out as a potential locker room cancer is unfair.

  11. Hey Eddie, you shouldn’t be reading this stuff.

    -

    Mr Editor, good food for thought on glaring Sounders problems of late, but I think you’re getting a little carried away with the intrigue. EJ is the new guy. It’s a little too convenient to pick on him. The fact that his arrival had something to do with the popular kids getting the boot puts a even bigger target on his back. There is no correlation between his Feb 18 arrival and the more recent lapse of Sounders discipline.

    Among the known facts on EJ are that he’s the team’s leading goal scorer, he’s starting regularly, and he has demonstrated poor judgement, or a lack of ability to make judgements, when it comes to public behavior.

    He sounds like a lot very talented forwards out there.

    When Seattle slumped in 2011, there was no EJ to blame. There was FL in 2010 but one may note how quickly the coaching staff moved to isolate and extricate the problem. If EJ has that kind of problem, you’d think the same would happen. At this juncture it’s reasonable to conclude that he is not that kind of problem, but rather, perhaps, an asset to be nurtured.

  12. I don’t blame Zayner for shoving EJ. The issue here is EJ’s lack of sportsmanship and general disrespect. He now has two strikes. You would think a player who spent 4 year riding the pine in Europe and being rejected by Puebla would have learned some humility. I’ll be disappointed if the organization and the fan base it they continue to ignore and or defend his actions.

  13. There is nothing racist about the obvious:

    1) EJ is a talented footballer with very narcissistic tendencies. This has hampered his professional career.We knew it before he arrived. SSFC supporters were negatively/positively split when SSFC signed him; Both opinions were right.

    2) EJ can be an asset to SSFC. He has the skill set and proven it this year. Where the issues are have been pointed out above. He has alienated so many: USMNT, professional sides in Europe; so much so that the MLS was one league where he could get a bit of a fresh start (new and improved EJ?).

    3) The tipping point has been reached. Is he an elixir or is he poison to SSFC? Maybe we should review other goal celebrations and see when the main “core” does not chase down the scorer to celebrate… That can answer many questions… Rose the only one? The rookie? He very well could have done it out of etiquette alone. Every time EJ has scored he has not really sought out the player who set him up, but EJ went on to celebrate with EJ, oblivious to who is involved.

    4) To say that it is racist is ridiculous. Look at the pitch, watch the match. It is apparent that EJ is taunting opponents, chastising teammates, and cares nothing for anything except for EJ. The only color I see is Rave Green; and I am not all that pleased with how it is being represented at the moment; Yet support will never waiver.

    • If EJ was white this wouldn’t even be talked about, period. We live in a time of disguised racism and it is everywhere in this world, most especially in this country. So to say that it is not is also a complete lie. Again where is the evidence and none of you can come up with any. Until there is complete full true evidence this is a no brainer, we are all whiners about something that we do not even know if it really occurred and there has been no words from EJ and Sigi this morning has said it best, “Schmid said he doesn’t think referees have controlled games very well in a few of the contests. The past two games were played on smaller fields, which tend to produce more physical duels and contentious battles for the ball. The Sounders’ franchise-worst seven-game MLS winless streak also had frustrations peaking.” Again notice that he mentions that the refs should do a better job and this is where the true blame of this story or report lies. Until there is better referring this will occur over and over again and not with just this team.

      • I strongly disagree that EJ would not be talked about if he was white. This is about behavior, not color. Freddie Ljungberg? Crappy attitude and lack of respect for his club. Like I said, watch the matches. Note something besides the ball. See what is going on off the ball. Watch the body language players and their composition. You can learn a lot from that. It has zero to do with color or nationality.

        I am not blaming EJ for any of the lack of form/slup SSFC is in. He is simply disrespectful of the club and his teammates with is current behavior.

  14. sensationalistic piece highlighting the negative? who woulda thunk it out of you guys.

  15. Something is wrong with our discipline. Schmid admitted it yesterday.

    As for the locker room, who knows whether it is as united as last year? It doesn’t look it. I hope it gets fixed soon.

    I’m sorry Hoo but you come across as a total idiot. A freakin scary unhinged one. Please shut up.

    Sounders Till I Die

    • No never. Look it got us all discussing this. We would not be talking about this if EJ was White. Think about it.

  16. And I though we had psychos in the Timbers Army. Sheesh.

  17. I think that Hooloovoo forgot to put his aluminum foil hat on and his mind was turned into goo by brain eating creatures from outer space. Everyone knows that it is sexism that is bringing all of this down on EJ. If he were a woman we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Seriously, think about it.

    • Very funny but I’m not convinced by any means that this sport is experiencing racism. Prove to me that EJ punched the Quake player. I still have not seen any proof and all of this is just plain here-say, speculation and complete sensationalism. Futfetish, you have been drinking the cool-aid, with all your wonderful blinders on. So what can you see in the dark and when the pin drops I suppose you can’t hear it either? None of you can handle someone taking an opposite stand.

      • Dude, you are hysterical. I love it. I await your next conspiracy with baited breath. I’m refilling my gin cool-aid and popping some corn.

  18. Prost, is hooloovoo another belated April fools joke? Surprised that wingnut hasn’t resorted to that time honored argument ender – calling ej haters ” ******”. Speaking of things unhinged, the entire team seems to be shattering. I don’t think there is a silver bullet but rather a syndrome of problems. In no particular order: slow/uninspired first halves, lots of injuries coming in bunches, fatigue from lots of games bunched together, rust from too much time off, a different lineup every match, lots of loosely ref’d matches, mounting losses, unmet expectations, etc. I think ej should own his part in this debacle, but his response to criticism should be in a chorus, not an aria.

    • Beerme,

      It occurred to me last night that it may be a Timbers fan trying to make Sounders fans look dumb. To me, that is not growing the game or encouraging debate. Instead the outbursts distracted from an adult analysis of the issues, such as a good tit-for-tat on our FB page with some lusty and well put disagreements with our article.

      So, let’s all get back to discussing the football.

      Firstly, you have been consistently on the money about the side even when they were winning. Most of the year, you’ve been on my case for being overly positive about the Sounders, a marked change from last year!

      As the article says, it could just be to do with Mauro’s own form slump. We have agreed that he makes other players better, an anti-Ljungberg if you will.

      The other factors you mentioned all have some validity but they also apply to the opposition. I cite the Crew’s injury list as Exhibit A, but also concede that other opponents, like Montreal, had much nearer their full squad.

      I stick to my theory, expressed all year, that there is an issue with Jeff Parke, either in his relationship with Sigi or in his general health. I also think Sigi has a point when he says that some of the guys are good enough to be fill ins, but not start six straight games without being exposed.

      As for this thought “fatigue from lots of games bunched together, rust from too much time off” - pick a side, we’re at war!

  19. Hey hoolobotomy, re:” when the pin drops”…that’s a metaphor for quietness. which is sort of ironic. Did you mean to ” hear the other shoe drop”? That’s not what that metaphor means, either. Also, its ”hearsay”, not ”here-say”. one might argue that ”heresy” is what you were going for. Its the only definition that makes any kind of sense. Here’s a few metaphors you might want to consider: ” off ones rocker”, ” one beer short of a six pack”, ” not the sharpest tool in the shed.” Good luck with your minimum wage job!

  20. Ed, I know it sounds counter intuitive but if you play 5 matches in fifteen, especially with all the injuries, the team will be fatigued. My point is that a 2-3 week layoff will, while curing fatigue, cause players to lose their edge. To top it of they have a very good opponent on Wednesday, a hard fought derby on Sunday and then 48 hours later a road game against the best team in mls-that’s got to cause fatigue again. Its like a yo yo.

    As for Parke, while he’s made some costly mistakes he’s hardly alone. The same could be said for my current foil, EJ, who deserves his share but no more. I’d love to see a stat on unforced turnovers. The passing game had been our strength, but this year we have turned it over cheaply entirely too much, especially in the first half of games. I don’t know if it is poor accuracy our lack of movement off the ball or both, but the whole team seems to be struggling, not just one or two guys. In my humble estimation we all have seen these guys perform at a high level of skill and desire-my question is why its gone away.

    unfortunately I couldn’t resist taking shots at the troll. Is the name of the former leader of the third Reich really worthy of censorship? my apologies if anyone was offended (except my intended target, of course.)

    • (The software censored that)

      I have heard someone else who holds the theory that the off the ball movement is slacking. They said players are not moving towards the ball to receive it as much, but away from it. This allows the opponent to intercept.

      Your thoughts?

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